Danny Lopez heads Boxing Hall of Fame class
Danny “Little Red” Lopez was slow and deliberate in his
acceptance speech, unlike his demeanor in the ring as a champion
featherweight. Longtime Associated Press boxing writer Ed Schuyler
Jr. wasn’t so fast for a change.
Being immortalized can have that effect.
Lopez and Schuyler were among 13 men inducted Sunday into the
International Boxing Hall of Fame, capping their impressive
“Getting inducted is a big honor, getting the ring and the
whole shot,” said Lopez, who fashioned a 42-6 record with 39
knockouts in a 10-year career. “I felt much better winning a fight
in the ring, but this is comparable to it. Pretty close.”
Other living inductees were: light flyweight champ Jung-Koo
Chang, the first South Korean boxer to make the Hall of Fame;
manager Shelly Finkel; referee and commissioner Larry Hazzard;
German promoter Wilfried Sauerland; and matchmaker Bruce
Posthumous honorees were: light heavyweight Lloyd Marshall;
featherweight champion Young Corbett II; lightweight champion Rocky
Kansas; heavyweight contender Billy Miske; Paddington Tom Jones,
whose 20-year career began in 1786; and broadcaster Howard
Although it didn’t end in a knockout, Lopez’s victory over Davey
Kotey for the 1976 WBC featherweight championship remains one of
his signature moments in the ring. It came in Kotey’s homeland of
Ghana in front of a crowd of 122,000 fans – still the
second-largest crowd in the sport’s history.
Lopez, who worked in a pizza parlor and baby-sat for his brother
before turning pro in 1971, appeared on the cover of Sports
Illustrated during his heyday and was amazed to see so many copies
of the magazine again during induction weekend.
“I think I’m outdoing the swimsuit edition,” he said with a
Schuyler covered more than 300 world championships for AP and
figures he was ringside for about 6,000 fights.
Among his favorites were the first and third Muhammad Ali-Joe
Frazier fights, Ali’s “Rumble in the Jungle” against George
Foreman, Sugar Ray Leonard-Thomas Hearns, Marvelous Marvin
Hagler-Roberto Duran, and the 1976 Olympic finals in Montreal,
where the United States won five gold medals and beat the Cubans
head-to-head three times.
“Boxing was and always has been a writing sport. If you can’t
write about boxing, you should be selling shoes,” said Schuyler,
who earned the nickname “Fast Eddie” because of his rapid
dictation from ringside during his career from 1970-2002. “I want
to share this award with my father, who was the finest newspaperman
and the finest man I’ve ever known.
“Now I’m a boxing fan right back where I started. It’s
forever,” Schuyler said. “Someday my grandson can come up here
and see it.”
Cosell, who died in 1995, was not at the Ali-Frazier “Thrilla
in Manila” or the “Rumble in the Jungle,” yet he was a champion
of the sport. He stood by Ali when Ali was stripped of his
heavyweight title and forced into a three-year retirement because
of his refusal to serve in the military in Vietnam.
“The boxing world was very good to us,” Colin Cosell said in
accepting the award for his grandfather. “With his trademark
modesty, I’m sure Howard would say he was very good to the world of
boxing as well – tongue in cheek, of course.
“We’re humbled and thankful to know that the work that he loved
doing continues to be recognized, and thanks to the International
Boxing Hall of Fame his legacy lives on.”
It was a landmark day for the family of Miske, who fought Jack
Dempsey in 1920 while suffering from Bright’s Disease (a disease of
the kidneys). Despite being bedridden, Miske also insisted on one
final fight in 1923 – and won it – when he had only weeks to live
so he could buy Christmas presents for his kids and a piano for his
“It is a great honor for the Miske family,” said the fighter’s
grandson, Bill Miske. “We’ve been waiting for this for a number of
years and it finally came to fruition. We’re thrilled.”
Induction week customarily attracts some of boxing’s biggest
names, and Sunday was no exception. Former champions Carmen Basilio
and Billy Backus, who grew up in Canastota, shared duties of grand
marshal for the annual parade, and thousands of fans cheered the
likes of Gene Fullmer, Ken Norton, George Chuvalo, Leon Spinks,
Nino Benvenuti, Vito Antuofermo, Buster Douglas, Livingstone
Bramble, Lou Duva, and Bob Arum.
The day left a lasting impression on Chang.
“From now on, Canastota is my hometown,” he said through a
translator. “I’ll come back every year.”